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State Fair-Style Roasted Turkey Legs

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
Cook Time:
45 mins
Prep Time:
10 mins

Chef notes

If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the turkey legs at the Thanksgiving table, why not cook up some extra? This state fair-style roasted or smoked turkey leg recipe is a great option to add to your Thanksgiving feast. They are economical, cook quickly and are always juicy and delicious!

Technique tip: Unwrap the turkey the night before to get the crispiest skin. Brine turkey legs for extra moisture and seasoning.


  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 turkey legs
Turkey rub
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil
To serve
  • barbecue sauce, blue cheese or ranch dressing


    For the brine:

    Whisk together the water, kosher salt and sugar to create your brine.

    Once the liquid turns clear, place 3 turkey legs in a gallon zip-top bag and pour over half of the brine to cover. Repeat with the remaining 3 turkey legs then refrigerate for 1 hour to overnight.

    For the turkey rub:

    In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the turkey rub and mix to combine.

    To cook:


    Remove the turkey legs from the brine and pat dry.


    Season the turkey legs with all of the turkey rub and place onto a sheet tray with a wire rack and allow them to marinate for 15 minutes.


    While the turkey legs are marinating, preheat your oven to 425 F.


    Once the oven is up to temp, roast the turkey legs on the wire rack for 45 minutes or until the skin is golden-brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 F.


    Remove from the oven allow the turkey legs to rest for 5 minutes, then serve with your favorite barbecue sauce, blue cheese or ranch dressing.